I got a haircut today and had a pretty intense talk with my barber. I’ve been going to him for a few years now, and the conversation is usually pretty superficial… the weather, vacation, the “Giants”. But today, he was pretty reflective. Tony immigrated from Portugal in 1991. It was a tough decision for him, but he wanted a better life. He is a faithful citizen…honest, hard working; he built a business, learned our language, pays his taxes, raised a good family. Tony loves our country but is very discouraged by what he sees going on especially with our politicians. He’s afraid the country is changing, and not for the better. As we were talking I thought, Tony is the kind of man that has made our country great. You would be happy to have Tony as your friend and his family living next door to you.
I agreed with much of what he was concerned about. At the same time I tried to encourage him to have hope. I told him that I was praying for our country and that there are still millions of people who love our nation and will fight to keep it strong. “Tony we need to do our duty, pray and have hope”. He agreed. We wished each other Merry Christmas as I left with my new haircut… and I think we each had a bit more hope.
I think all of us need to fight against discouragement which can come in different areas of our life … our personal life, our job, family, country, church. We can’t give in to discouragement, and only faith in Christ can keep us hopeful.
We’re now entering into the final days of Advent. Let’s double our efforts to “pray”… asking the Lord to help us to love especially those closest to us.. to be kind, generous, forgiving, encouraging, smiling more. Let’s even give another shot at some “fasting” …. woe, slow down Dave – “Mr. Chocolate Chip Cookie” is calling for fasting. And let’s consider some almsgiving”…. give what you can… big and small…maybe it’s a bigger tip for your barber who’s struggling with the regulations from Covid 19, or your parish or community or to those who are on the front lines in caring for the poor and homeless.
“Praying, fasting, and giving alms” can help keep us from being passive and maybe a bit too reflective, and it can help us to be open to some new ways to love the Lord and one another.
So, if you need a shot in the arm, consider jump starting some ”praying, fasting, and almsgiving, and…..maybe you should go get a haircut. In addition to looking more handsome or beautiful, you might be able to encourage your barber…. or visa versa.